WORDS FROM OUR READERS - The Day Of Terror - September 11, 2001

(09/17/2001)

We are encouraging our readers to express their thoughts, feelings and opinions about our national tragedy. If you have not done so, please e-mail us at bob@hurherald.com or FAX at 304-354-6183 or snail mail at HC65-Box 120, Mt. Zion WV 26151.

Please remember, the opinions expressed here are strictly of those who gave them.

On September 11, a group of people whose identity is still unknown carried out a terrorist attack on a scale unprecedented in this country. They killed thousands of people whose identities could not have been known to them, thousands who were guilty only of working in a certain place. Hundreds more died trying to rescue other people. Additional thousands were injured, bereaved, or affected in more minor ways.

What can we say about such an attack? We can say that it was stupid and vicious. We can say that if someone was trying to send a message, this was surely a counterproductive way to do it. If, on the other hand, the motive was retaliation for some previous wrong, then we can say that it was cruel and terribly unjust to target a random collection of strangers rather than whoever actually perpetrated the original wrong. And in any case, truly two wrongs don't make a right. I dislike the use of the loaded word "evil," but surely if anything is evil, murdering thousands of strangers would qualify.

Can we agree, then, that this act was stupid, vicious, unjust and evil?

A harder question is what we should do about it. As of this writing, it's not yet clear who was behind it, but that may change. Unfortunately, even now there is much talk of military retaliation. Such proposals vary depending on whom they presume to be the guilty party, but many would involve killing thousands of people who just happen to be in the wrong place. Did we not just agree that killing thousands of strangers in retaliation for a previous wrong, to which they are connected at best very tenuously, is wrong, stupid, unjust and evil?

I'm not saying we should do nothing. If we can find surviving members of the group behind this act of terrorism, they should be tried with all due process and if found guilty should be punished appropriately. Appropriate punishment for such a massive crime would surely preclude their ever leaving prison. Unfortunately it seems that mass murderers who commit their crimes while connected to governments are rarely tried or punished--such impunity encourages later abuses of power. Justice should be impartial; it should not matter whether a murderer was working with the government or free-lance, was left-wing or right-wing, was Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu or atheist. Acts of violence should be punished. But justice demands that such punishment follow proper legal proceedings in which the accused have the opportunity to defend themselves. And surely no one should receive the death penalty without benefit of trial or even accusation, just because they live in the same country as someone alleged to be guilty.

To avenge a crime by repeating it elsewhere only doubles it; to excuse violence as retaliation for previous violence only sets in place the kind of endless cycle of repeated mutual retaliations that made Ireland a hell for so long, and currently has the area around Palestine in a state that can only be described as mass madness. To send retaliatory strikes into that region now would be as responsible as launching flaming torches into a dry field during a drought. When people speak of "acts of war" and propose missile attacks, the irresponsibility is even more extreme. And such people should stop to consider this--it's very possible that the fondest hope of those "heroes" who killed themselves along with so many others in New York and Washington D.C. was to involve the U.S. in a hot war in the Middle East. Do we really want to follow their script?...Mary Wildfire

When I awoke on Tuesday September 11, 2001, I got up and turned on the TV and sat down to start doing and English paper that was due. What I saw made me put down the paper and turn up the volume.

At first I wondered what action movie was this? Then I saw that The TV was on CNN, and that this was live coverage. I was horrified and dumbfounded at the picture about me. I instantly called my Grandmother, to ask her what was going on. Then as I watched in horror, building two was struck. Shortly after the first of the mighty twins was fallen.

When I heard that the Pentagon had also been struck I realized that out nation was under attack. My mind was racing and I didn't know what to think. I couldn't see how those people could survive those buildings tumbling down on top of them.

I went into my room and picked up the Doll that I slept with when I was a little girl. I kept her with me all day, a reminder of my childhood when everything was simple. I prayed all-day and sat in front of the News hoping for a miracle.

That night everything hit me. I was in the truck with my boyfriend waiting in the gas lines that were horrific. All I could think about was what I had seen in History books of past wars and gas shortages. Tempers were flying high as people raced to get gas. A few hours' later places were closing and running out of gas. It scared me and I started crying uncontrollably at the thought of war.

I have so many friends in the armed services, not to mention a brother. The thought of war scares the Hell out of me. But so doesn't the thought of having to live with the fear of terrorist attacking us in our homes and workplaces. I called a good friend that is in the Marines on Tuesday night and talked to him for almost an hour. He is what you would call a Grunt. He is the ground force that goes in first. When I told him my fears, all he said was "This is what we are trained for and what I am PROUD to be doing."

While I know that my Generation does not want a war, we have to stand up for what is right and protect our freedom. So to my family, friends, and the rest of the Proud Military Men and Women I Salute you and your bravery, may God keep you safe in all that is to come. To all of those who lost love ones in NYC, DC and PA my thoughts and prayers are with you. To those whom died in Tuesday's attacks may God hold you in His loving arms forever. To the rescue workers, Thank you for not giving up hope, and may God give you the strength to continue in the unfaltering way you working. And To or government, know that America and the world stand united behind you to do what is right. May God bless us all...Tiffini L. Tingler CCHS Class of 1999

As the mother of two small children, I worry about the recent tragedy that has befallen our country. I would love to see a swift and harsh punishment come to those who are responsible, but at the same time, I worry about the men and women that will be going in to harm's way to serve up the punishment.

Unfortunately, there is no middle ground, either we let the heathens go and open ourselves up to more of the same horrible treatments, or we stand up and fight and take the chance of losing even more innocent lives.

I have bowed my head in prayer many times since I heard about the attack, but who do I pray for first? Do I pray for the dead? The dying? The trapped? The wounded? The lucky who got out unscathed? The children who had to watch the horrible tragedy? The men and women who will defend the rights that I take for granted? The evil people who would commit such a horrible act? Or do I pray to God to forgive me for wanting to see these people die, to see these people get what I think they deserve, and more than anything for wanting to exact revenge?

I thank the Dear Lord that I was lucky enough not to lose anyone or to even know anyone that perished. I also thank God that I was in the comfort of my own home when this happened, and that I was spared the horror of having to see it first hand, not many were as lucky...Jennifer Nicholas

It is imminent that we are about to be at war. I believe in the old saying clean your own back yard. When the president takes what ever action he feels necessary I for one don't want the 7 million Muslims and Bin Ladan followers here in the US in our back yard. When everything goes down they (Muslims) may find themselves in a dire situation here in the US...Lawrence Jarvis

As I stared at the TV since last Tuesday things from my past became very vivid again. Last Tuesday was Pearl Harbor revisited. Something very positive came out of all of this. The only other time I can recall such patriotism and togetherness as a nation was during world war II.

I was in high school during world war II and was extremely proud of my older brothers who were in actual combat. I remember our tiny village of Mt. Zion, the flags flying, the photos of service men in Kelly's store, the stars displayed in home windows with some being silver, rationing of gas and sugar, bicycling at night to make sure no lights were visible in civil defense drills.

There is no doubt about it, we must eradicate from the face of the earth those responsible for this nightmare. This includes governments that are involved. However, we must be entirely accurate in our response to be sure we strike the right people. If it turns out we struck the wrong people, even if they are also evil, we will be in very bad shape.

So we must pray that we do not have loose cannons among our leaders and after that determination is made we must support our government and country to the fullest extent. I have experienced close calls from hunters who fired their rifles because they "thought they saw a deer". This on a national level would be catastrophic.

For whatever reason our country has gradually been disemboweling itself ever since the Korean war over supposed differences amongst us. This has united us again. Let us resolve to stay united...Don Weaver

I don't know about anyone else but I am getting a little upset over the letters about prayer in schools. It has nothing to do with this tragedy that has happened. I have nothing against anyone praying but we have churches and our homes for our prayers, there are too many different religions and beliefs to have prayer in schools so maybe that is why Congress decided to take it out of our schools. This is the reason you teach your children about God and prayers at church or at home.

I myself do not go to church nor do I have to, to believe in God I do my praying at home. Someone said they couldn't believe that a congress that passed the bill to take prayers out of school had the nerve to stand outside on national TV and sing God Bless America, well I can't believe that not one church I have driven by has the American flag flying.

I believe the families and victims of this tragedy need our prayers now, not the schools, sorry if I have stepped on any toes but this is how I feel. And as for the two preachers on TV who said we deserved this they are a disgrace to God, no one deserves this except for the terrorists that did it...Debbie Mckown

In this time of disaster and pain there is so little we can do but one of the most precious freedoms we have is prayer. This cannot be taken away from us by any terrorist short of taking our life. So I want to share with you my prayer in this horrible time in hopes it may comfort someone in some way.

The precious ones taken away, for them today Oh Lord we Pray. Their families who are left behind can make no sense of this horrible crime. We see their pain, we see their tears, their grief they will suffer for many yeas. We Pray Oh Lord you will give them comfort and love both precious gifts from up above . Guide them through each passing day and give them strength Oh Lord we pray. Please give them Faith in their sorrow and give them Hope in their tomorrow. IN GOD WE TRUST, AMEN...Rosalee Minny